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The meeting of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev with the refugees and IDPs currently living in the village of Yeni Zod, Goygol (Khanlar) Region

4 March 2008
Ilham Aliyev Residents of the village warmly greeted the head of our state Mr. Ilham Aliyev and his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva.
    Second-degree disabled Karabakh War veteran, receipent of the Order of the Azerbaijani Flag, Emin Orucov said as he was greeting the president:
    - Dear Mr. President, on behalf of the residents of this remote village of the Xanlar Region located on the outskirts of the Kapaz mountain, I am wel­coming you. Today you have once again proven that you are
indeed the president of each and every Azerbaijani. You have confirmed this again. You are our president and you will forever remain our president. I am hoping that upon the upcoming election you will be our president again.
    Mr. President, I am a disabled Karabakh War veteran. I have taken part in battles for the ter­ritorial integrity of Azerbaijan and lost my left leg. The Order of the Azerbaijani Flag that you see on my chest was presented to me by our national leader Heydar Aliyev, and I am very proud of this. I had the honour of meeting with our national leader Heydar Aliyev in 1998, and today I have met you.
    Mr. President, as you have said, where there is stability, development is rapid. This is why I am hoping that your policies will result in the return of our lands and in restoring our territorial integrity. If this is not possible through policies, I am promising you on behalf of the Karabakh War veterans and all participants of the war that on your orders, we will drive out our obnoxious enemies back to where they came from and will liberate our occupied lands from them.
    We are welcoming you and thanking you again. We are hoping that you will gladden us com­mon people with your every visit.
    The President, Mr. Ilham Aliyev thanked him and said:
    - Thank you very much. I have come here today to meet you. Earlier I was in Xanlar, where we held some events. They were good events, too. I have presented the orders for a newly-built resi­dence building for the families of the Karabakh War veterans and martyrs. There were also other events. I wanted to come and meet with you as well.
    You are the people who have been subject to a policy of ethnic cleansings. The policy carried out by the Armenian aggressors against Azerbaijan and Azeris has led to a situation where our lands remain under occupation. Here in Yeni Zod, both our compatriots from Armenia and IDPs from Kalbacar have settled.
    I would like for you to live good lives here, for every part of Azerbaijan to attain development, PRESIDENT'S CARE FOR REFUGEES AND INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS stability, peace and progress. We must all work together to achieve this, particularly the govern­ment establishments, the government bodies must devote attention to people, show them concern, and be involved in solving your problems. Now there is such development in every part of our country. Jobs are opening, new roads are being laid and new institutions are beginning to operate.
    Measures are taken and must be taken to improve living conditions for the people living in rural areas. Credits are being allocated, the development of entrepreneurship is being funded, agricul­tural communities are being provided with technology, and other measures are being taken. This is why I have come to meet with you - to ask what we can do for you, what you need; for you to tell me what tasks need to be fulfilled to improve life in the village, so I can solve these problems. The main purpose of my regional visits is to examine the situation and to provide any missing con­ditions. We should do what is needed for the people of Azerbaijan to live well.
    You live in a remote village and of course, remote mountainous villages have their problems. I have come here both to express my respect and to ask what I can for you. Tell me, and I will look into it.
    Akif Huseynov (deputee executive of the village, village elder): Dear President, thank you very much. As a village elder, I am also welcoming you and you spouse here on behalf of the commu­nity.
    The majority of local residents, about 90 per cent, are refugees that arrived here in 1988 from Armenia. The rest are internally displaced persons. Thanks to your care, every problem gradual­ly finds its solution. We are certain that the situation will further improve. We promise that we will always be with you. Presidential election is ahead of us. We will unanimously vote for you to become President, and you will be our eternal President. We are hoping that all our problems will be resolved in the future, and that thanks to you we will live even better in this beautiful, fascinat­ing part of Azerbaijan. Thank you.

    Ilham Aliyev: Which part of Armenia are you from?

    Akif Huseynov: We came from the Goycha region, the Vardenis Region.

    Ilham Aliyev: In what year did you come?

    Akif Huseynov: In 1988; and settled here in 1990.

    Ilham Aliyev: In 1988, meaning after you became subject to aggression in Armenia.

    Akif Huseynov: Yes.

    Ilham Aliyev: You have been driven out of there. Those are, in fact, our lands; Azerbaijani lands.

    Akif Huseynov: Yes, those are our lands. We promise that we will return to those lands in the future.

    Ilham Aliyev: You have lived here for 20 years already.

    Akif Huseynov: Yes.

    Ilham Aliyev: How is life here?

    Akif Huseynov: Mr. President, life is good. There have been serious development works done in our region, including our village. All the citizens living in this area have been provided with land in accordance with the reforms. We are engaged in cattle breeding.

    Ilham Aliyev: What about technology? Is there enough? Does Agroleasing provide you any­thing or not? Tell me, so I know.

    Akif Huseynov: Yes, there is enough technology, and everything is going to improve.

    Ilham Aliyev: A few years ago I founded the company Agroleasing, so the state could purchase technology from abroad to distribute it between farmers for them to use. Now they have started to manufacture it in Azerbaijan itself with low leasing rates. As you know, the first stage of the State Programme for Socioeconomic Development of the Regions is coming to an end. In February of next year, it will be 5 years, and in this period, the programme will be completely implemented.
    But a different programme is being prepared for the following years. This is why I ordered all executive bodies to report problems of every village to me, so we can include it in the programme. This is why I know that you are refraining from telling me about your problems here. But I am hop­ing that the issues that concern you will be reported to me, because by solving the problem of every village we will solve every problem of the country. Already big projects are being engineered and big investments are being made. Power plants are being built, power-supply lines, motorways and gas lines are being laid.
    I assume there is not gas here.

    Akif Huseynov: We have gas lines that were lined here in the past. There is gas coming all the way to Hacikand. But it has been included in the plan, so there will be gas in the village.

    Ilham Aliyev: Put in the plan?

    Arif Seyidov (head of the Xanlar Region Executive Power): Mr. President, the gas line reaches the village of Ashiqli. It will be lined over here from Hacikand.

    Ilham Aliyev: It must be lined over here as well.

    Akif Huseynov: Mr. President, it will be great to have gas, because it will prevent our forests from being cut down.

    Ilham Aliyev: Currently 80 per cent of our country's population has been supplied with gas. But it is also true that Baku, Sumqayit and Ganca are fully supplied. 80 per cent does not mean that every village is supplied. 20 per cent are not supplied. We must do this, especially now, when we have gas and are increasing its production. This is why lines have to reach even the most remote vil­lages, and we must do so. In that case, the environment will be protected, the forests will not be get­ting cut down and the people will live in comfort.
    Currently one of the main issue in the regions is the issue of drinking water. Every region has this problem, I know. We are now working on a special programme to solve this issue. I am hop­ing that there will not be any problem here with regard to electricity.

    Village residents: There is no problem.

    Ilham Aliyev: There used to be interruptions in the past. Now there are probably some at night. Sometimes there are breakdowns or bad weather conditions. But in general, we have solved this problem. We have solved 80 per cent of the gas supply problem, and we will solve the rest as well. But the problem of drinking water is very grave. This is why a special programme is needed, and all regions must be supplied with drinking water. This requires several years. I am hoping that we can achieve this in two or three years. The rest depends on the development of entrepreneurship.
    Of course, you are engaged in agriculture here. There are opportunities for being occupied in agriculture. Credits are now being allocated, of which there will be more in the future. In any case, I do not want that any place in Azerbaijan had any serious problems. Problems exist in every coun­try. Even if we look at the most developed countries, we can find poverty, unemployment and injus­tice there. But we have decreased poverty by 16 per cent; we have decreased unemployment. Now it is perhaps not a big problem to find work in these surrounding regions, in Xanlar. There is so much construction and must establishments begin to operate that anyone who wants to work can find a job.
    Of course, infrastructural projects are required for the all-round development of our country. Residents of rural areas, of course, have their own problems and their own specifics, especially in mountainous villages. We will resolve them all.
    I can see that you do not want to talk to me about any problems. But I will continue to inves­tigate.

    Akif Huseynov: Mr. President, we are not talking about them, because everything will eventu­ally be resolved by you.

    Emin Orucov: Mr. President, allow us to take a photograph with you by the Kapaz Mountain.
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